City overdose fatalities at zero

Contributed photoThe Hudson Police Department reported no drug overdose deaths in Hudson in 2019.

HUDSON — There were no overdose deaths in the city in 2019, according to crime statistics released this week by the Hudson Police Department.

Hudson police officers administered the overdose reversal drug known as naloxone nine times in a total of 22 overdoses reported in the city in 2019. Overdose deaths were down in Hudson in 2018 from the previous year, according to figures provided by the Hudson Police Department. City police responded to three overdose deaths reported in 2016; four in 2017; and two in 2018, according to Hudson police.

“Overdose deaths are down,” Police Chief L. Edward Moore said. “It’s a combination of factors, including the availability of Narcan for the patrols, the availability of Narcan for the citizens and the pressure on open drug dealing, which has displaced some of the supply end to outside of the city.”

Hudson police responded to 27 overdose calls from the beginning of 2017 to the end of 2018. Six of those calls were fatal. Of those overdoses, 15 were revived using naloxone. Hudson Police Department’s first save was Sept. 3, 2017. All overdoses reported in Hudson in 2017 and 2018 were linked to heroin, Moore said. The police have used a sternum rub or Greenport Rescue Squad administered naloxone in other instances.

All 25 Hudson police officers are trained in the use of naloxone. Officers of the Hudson Police Department are recertified in the use of overdose reversal drugs annually, Moore said. Training in naloxone began for officers in January 2017.

The city brought significant sentences last year for a major drug network that supplied more than 100 people in Columbia County with crack-cocaine. Five people were convicted in 2019 as part of a federal, state and city police investigation into the drug ring, and all were connected to a spate of back-and-forth gun violence incidents in the city in the summer of 2017, authorities said.

The number of overdose reversal drugs needed to revive victims is increasing, emergency personnel said. In one instance in 2018, five doses of naloxone were needed before an overdosed person was revived in Hudson.

The statistics came out of the Hudson Police Committee meeting on Monday at City Hall, 520 Warren St. The U.S. Department of Justice traditionally releases crime statistics from the previous year in September, but Moore and Lt. David Miller Jr. release statistics to city officials in January during the first police committee meeting of the year.

The new 20-bed detox center approved by the planning board for the corner of Merle Avenue and Route 66 in Greenport, will help bring the number of overdoses down further, Moore said.

“Clearly it’s something to help addicts, and from what I understand it won’t cost taxpayers money,” Moore said. “They [the detox center’s staff] are going to be able to bring them [addicts] to rehab facilities and treat them there [at the detox center] and it is something that is a long time coming ... If a facility like that comes to our area and if that provides a choice for an addict, I think 100 percent it has got to help. Some addicts will be more inclined to get help than to go somewhere to buy heroin. So I think it is going to be a good thing.”

Hudson Police Commissioner Peter Volkmann, who did not attend the meeting, said he and Mayor Kamal Johnson are working on a directive to bring Chatham Cares 4U to Hudson.

“Detox isn’t for everybody or for every addiction,” Volkmann said. “Some substances that do not require detox ... it is a maze of which door is the best door for someone.”

The Hudson Police Department answered 8,862 incident calls in 2019, or an average of 24 calls per day. The police made 685 arrests and 1,062 booking arrests in 2019. An arrest can result in more than one charge, Moore said. The Hudson Police Department is the second busiest police agency in the county behind the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, Moore said.

Vehicle and traffic tickets in the city have doubled in recent years, but were down slightly from last year to 1,366 total tickets in 2019. Hudson police issued 1,914 vehicle and traffic citations in 2018. In 2017, police distributed 975 tickets and issued 997 in 2016.

“Bail reform has not had a large impact on this department so far,” Moore said. “The department gets 200-plus bench warrants a year for folks that have failed to show in front of the judge. It is a possibility that number will go up under the new bail reform laws and cost us in manpower [to track down the defendant] but I can’t make that judgment yet.”

In recent years, Hudson police have added more traffic enforcement and applied for grants to give officers overtime to hold special details once a month, including details for cracking down on drunken driving and cell phone use while driving, Moore said.

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to apurcell@thedailymail.net, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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